A ground-breaking research aimed at identifying the obstacles facing Australian exporters was launched Tuesday by the Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb. The Australia\'s International Business Survey is expected to deliver new information on the barriers facing Australian businesses in overseas markets, including small and medium enterprises. Factors contributing to the success of Australian companies in overseas markets will also be explored, a press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said. \"I would encourage all companies that are exporting or undertaking business in overseas markets to take the time to participate in the survey so that we can better understand your needs and the issues impacting our exporter community,\" Robb said. Robb said the findings will better inform policy debates and provide practical assistance to business and industry as they develop commercial opportunities and marketing strategies. The national survey, aimed at encouraging participation by at least 2,000 companies, will run from late October to November 2013 and is supported by State and Territory governments, as well as peak industry bodies and chambers. \"The nature of Australia\'s international trade is constantly changing in response to fluctuating demand from international markets. It is vitally important that we monitor and keep up to date with these changes to enhance productivity and competitiveness where required,\" Robb said. Around 45,000 companies in Australia are involved in exporting, while one in seven Australian workers contributes to the production of exports. In 2012 the value of Australia\'s total trade in goods and services increased 1.45 percent to 623.8 billion AU dollars (605 billion U.S. dollars). China continues to be Australia\'s largest export market, accounting for 26.2 percent, or 78.7 billion (76.3 billion U.S. dollars) of total exports in 2012. Japan was Australia\'s second largest export market while exports to the Republic of Korea totalled 21.6 billion (20.9 billion U.S. dollars) and the United States 14.6 billion (14.1 billion U.S. dollars).